Finding the Best Project Management Software for Creative Agencies
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
In addition to nurturing the creative process and bringing ideas to life, they are also skilled at organizing, orchestrating, and tracking the logistics of delivering projects. The traditional goal of project management is to increase productivity in software development, construction, and manufacturing.
As a creative project manager, you manage teams of idea people, document workflows, and coordinate outside input while adhering to tight deadlines. Creative project management tools automate administrative tasks, create a centralized hub to communicate requirements, collaborate on creative projects, and share the feedback.
Throughout this article, we'll explain what project management software for creative agencies is, how it can benefit your creative team, and why CEO-ME is the best option.
What Is Creative Project Management?
It covers advertising, marketing, web design, video production, and more creative projects. It differs from traditional project management in a number of ways, even though some aspects are similar. Innovation must flow when the brief is followed and delivered on time by creative project managers.
It's harder to track creative team progress than with software or engineering projects. In addition to aligning customer needs with projects, creative project management allows team members to come up with new ideas and manage resources effectively.
Project management software for creative agencies has become increasingly popular, no matter how many people you have in your team.
How Project Management Software for Creatives Can Help Your Team
Project managers are responsible for ensuring that the people, processes, and moving parts work together to deliver a final product that meets expectations and is delivered on schedule. The right tools and processes can help a project come together and keep everyone aligned around the same set of goals, but projects quickly fall apart without them.
A dedicated creative project management platform offers a number of specific benefits.
Creative Project Management Tools Streamlines Creative Briefs and Applications
With creative project management software, generating briefs and gathering feedback is streamlined instead of waiting for stakeholders to weigh in and agree. Projects can get started by using dynamic intake forms, which adapt based on the requester's role, sending automated reminders, and directing feedback to a central hub.
Creative project management software helps visualize workflows
With charts, graphs, and timelines tied to creative deliverables, creative project management software helps teams understand the big picture. In addition to making PMs more efficient, visualizations enable them to organize complex workflows, so creatives follow the plan and submit their work on time.
Project management software facilitates collaboration and feedback
Team members use a variety of creative assets, including Excel sheets, Google Docs, PDFs, marketing & sales templates, etc. Creative project management software helps them find files quickly and efficiently. Collaborating with the best platforms is easy since they have built-in tools. Their centralization makes it easy for users to assess a situation instantly.
Review and approve assets with creative project management software
A major bottleneck in large-scale creative projects is the review and approval process, so software solutions should also address it. Admins can automate approval flows, notifications, and status updates to maintain forward momentum using these tools to capture and incorporate feedback directly inside digital asset files.
Streamline tasks with creative project management software
Without a solid project management system, it is easy for creatives to be distracted by manual project management tasks, such as creating checklists or logging data. Managers can usually automate repetitive tasks, such as setting up new projects with creative PM software.
Platforms for Creative Project Management: Key Features to Consider
The best creative project management platforms help teams deliver high-quality work with the right balance between structure and flexibility. Basically, you want something that assists the creative process by providing guidance and focuses toward achieving goals without burdening the team with additional tasks like pulling reports and logging data.
Keeping that in mind, you need software that integrates with project tracking, collaboration tools, digital asset management, digital asset management, integrations, and the ability to automate manual admin tasks.
Here are some of the most important features to look for, even though each organization has different needs.
It is always important to consider usability, but when you are evaluating solutions for managing complex creative projects, your team needs software that is easy to use. Otherwise, they won't use it. Creative agencies have multiple stakeholders. Most of them don't come from a technical background, nor do they have the time to learn a whole new feature set.
In addition to offering built-in collaboration and communication tools, you should look for a platform that simplifies file management, syncs data across all business applications, and makes it easy to communicate. Users can also understand key details more quickly with factors such as a clean interface and visualizations.
Assuring everyone is on the same page before the kickoff of a project, creative briefs outline the project's goals, milestones, and target audience. Additionally, manual brief generation can take a huge chunk of time since they require input from a lot of different people.
Input from internal stakeholders, external collaborators, and clients can be collected using dynamic intake forms when creating project briefs. In response to requests, users can route responses back to their PM software based on the requester's role, type, and type of request.
Using a creative project management platform, you can review, edit, & approve content in one place, regardless of the file format. Besides supporting rich media formats like HTML5, video, and audio, you'll also want to look for a solution that supports static documents like Word docs, Excel sheets, and PDFs.
Reporting tools are a staple of any project management platform. With visualizations, you don't have to spend so much time in spreadsheets, track milestones, and view all tasks, deadlines, and dependencies in one place.
Reporting and workflow management tools also address the usability factor, allowing contributors, clients, and project managers to see the most important information at a glance, allowing them to focus their efforts where they are most beneficial.
The review and approval process can be moved to a shared digital workspace with project management software for creative agencies, which offers content and creative collaboration. As a result, teams can easily capture and implement feedback, collaborate directly inside files, and automate approval flows, resulting in faster project delivery.
Input from multiple stakeholders, complex review & approval processes, and conflicting opinions are critical to the success of any creative project, but when feedback comes from multiple stakeholders, projects may stall. Teams need real-time collaboration tools in order to avoid bottlenecks.
Aside from side-by-side comparisons of versions, status tracking is also important, as is the ability to directly markup content, comment, or respond directly to an asset.
The outline of each project can be familiar to creative teams, even though no two projects are exactly the same. The best creative project management solutions automatically save all associated settings as defaults. Think of task dependencies, reports, milestones, and relevant team members. Project templates save PMs time and effort and ensure all assets comply with brand guidelines and other compliance requirements by eliminating repetitive setup tasks.
Real-time, self-service reporting tools should be part of creative project management tools, so users can generate insights instantly. Ideally, you'll need to find a solution that shows you how teams spend their time, how each project is progressing, and how resources are being utilized. Project data can also be made easier to access with visualization and visual management tools.
Integrations with design and creative production tools
To prevent workers from wasting time switching between windows or searching for the right file, choose a platform that integrates seamlessly with the most popular tools used by creators--aka the Adobe Creative Suite. A solution like CEO-ME provides access to Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and Illustrator's full functionality while allowing users to collaborate on projects from a centralized location.
In addition to protecting assets and employees, project managers must select a solution that offers secure sharing, version control, and data encryption both in transit and at rest. Our software is SOC 2-compliant.
Top 5 best creative project management software for 2022
A part of what makes the platform so strong is that it provides a full range of capabilities, including an all-inclusive digital workspace, real-time collaborations, feedback captures, and workflow automation that brings clarity and visibility to the creative process and enables quicker turnaround times.
A centralized asset management system. One central workspace allows CEO-ME users to upload, review, and approve digital assets. A wide variety of format types are supported, including videos, PDFs, live websites, GIFs, and static Word documents.
An automated workflow process. Using CEO-ME, you can automate approval processes and avoid bottlenecks by setting parallel and sequential stages and flexible triggers. Users can sync checklists and status updates with workflow stages as creative assets develop.
Forms for submitting applications. Using CEO-ME's application forms, anyone--from clients to contractors and even in-house employees--can submit a request. This form is easy to use and routes content straight to the appropriate approver for approval by following a link leading to a simple presentation form.
Analysis and communication are centralized. CEO-ME has several unique benefits, including that it acts as one point of truth for all creative projects, allowing reviewers to provide actionable feedback directly within the project files.
Creating dashboards for projects. There is also automated audit logging of every update and decision made to each project. This allows reviewers to add annotations or markup to assets, read and respond to comments, and conduct side-by-side version comparisons to quickly confirm changes.
Pricing: CEO-ME offers free plans for individual creators as well as enterprise plans for large creative teams.
There are tens of thousands of people around the world who use Teamwork as their project management platform because it's powerful but easy to use. With multiple views and formats, this tool makes project management easy, as it allows for time tracking, team chat, assignment management, task distribution, and much more.
Despite Teamwork being some of the most powerful tools for any business, it truly comes into its own when agencies use it due to its excellent client permissions feature, whereby clients are able to manage the access they have to time tracking, invoices, and a whole host of other tools.
Individual workload Management
Client Permission Management
Pricing: Free plans are available, starting at $18 per month per user, and custom enterprise software.
This innovative project management software helps you organize all your assets and designs and provide a simple platform for working on different projects and communicating seamlessly.
A host of features make the project management process easier for creative teams, including communicating with external stakeholders and sharing progress.
Sorting and filtering options for all your data
Time trackers and timesheets
Integration with 1000+ applications
Pricing: nTask offers free plans for teams with fewer than five members, individuals, and freelancers. However, its most basic plan starts at only $2.99 per month for larger teams.
Using Monday, creative teams can collaborate on tasks, creative assets, and workflows. Monday manages projects, tracks time on various tasks, collaborates with teams, and much more.
Drag and drop interface
Ready-made templates for creative agencies
Fast search engines
Integration with other creative software and applications
Multiple viewing options
Pricing: You can start with the basic plan for $8 per month if you're just getting started as a team. The premium plan for $29 per month offers a lot of features that fit creative workgroups well.
In addition to simplifying creative project management, FunctionFox automates repetitive administrative tasks, so creatives have more time to do what they do best, such as budgeting, expense reports, and estimates.
FunctionFox is a straightforward and user-friendly tool, but it doesn't integrate with any third-party tools, so it can't deliver data-driven decision-making and asset management capabilities, which are really needed.
Tracks milestones, cost-to-completion, and time & expenses
Resource management Gantt charts
Pricing: Plans start at $5 per user per month
The Right Software for Your Creative Team
Creative management software can be daunting when looking at the details, but it's made much simpler when looking at the qualities listed above.
Additionally, you should make sure the software you choose is: suitable for teams of all sizes, customizable, allowing you to expand the tool's capabilities when the project grows, and easy to use, especially if you will involve the client's direct feedback. CEO-ME offers all the above features necessary for a productive collaborative effort.
The CEO-ME project management tool stands out in a pool of creative project management tools with flat pricing and a free version available upon sign-up! Take a look at our free trial, or schedule a quick demo call to get familiar with all the features.